Monika Staab was recently appointed the new coach of the Saudi women’s national football team, the Saudi Arabian Football Federation announced on Wednesday.
Staab will be tasked with coaching the newly established women’s national team just under a year after the establishment of the Saudi Women’s Football League, which is expected to start its second season in November.
A pioneer in the development of women’s football, the 62-year-old German sports icon had a playing career that saw her represent Kickers Offenbach (1970-1977) and NSG Oberst Schiel in Germany.
Staab also laced her boots for Queens Park Rangers, Paris Saint Germain and Southampton, among others in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
After her retirement in 1992, she coached SG Praunheim, her last playing club, for six years, before moving to Bundesliga club FFC Frankfurt, where she won the 2002 UEFA Women’s Cup (now the UEFA Women’s Champions League), four league titles and five German Cups.
She was appointed coach of Bahrain’s women’s national team in 2007, and in 2013-14, of the Qatari national team.
She has been living in Gambia since late autumn 2018, where she has been running the German Gambian Football Project, which aims to improve the structure of women’s football in the African country.
The initiative was created by the German Foreign Office and the German Olympic Sports Confederation.
The veteran coach has been to around 80 countries so far. In contrast to the average globetrotter, however, she has a very clear idea about her ultimate objective: To help women’s and girls’ football develop across the world.
“I have won trophies in the past, but development is something very important to me. Helping girls develop, in terms of their personality as well, is unbelievably important for me. I have realized that I prefer doing that to focusing on going to a World Cup,” she told FIFA.com.